BETTER THAN WE THOUGHT
The purpose of the atonement is not just about the law. The vision of the at-one-ment is to weave God and ourselves together in relationship. Stephen Morrison observes that “For [TF]Torrance, the purpose and goal of the atonement, which was accomplished in and through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God, is not limited to the forgiveness of sin. The gospel, which tells of the atonement, does not primarily proclaim salvation away from something, but rather salvation for the sake of union with Christ and participation in the life of God.”
This gospel is about living as sons of God but it is not living as adherents of the law, or in some contract or as observers of rites swimming in a soup of religion. We live in God and God lives in us. In Him we live, move and have our being. This is incarnation and it is what distinguishes the kingdom of God and its spirit and life from religion.
BAPTISED INTO LIFE
We can do better than an accountants view of religion. Our relationship is not limited to forgiveness of sin because life without limit is not about the law – which is incapable of imparting life. Participation in the life of God must be defined as participation in the fellowship of the trinity and with the community of heaven. It is also fellowship with each of those who have ever taken up the cause of Christ.
“ The proclamation of this gospel of new life with God in Christ is grounded in the truth that Jesus himself is the gospel. Thus accepting the gospel is not primarily about gaining particular benefits--- it's about receiving Christ himself. Then, in union with Christ by the Spirit, we are given a share in all of Christ's benefits. With this perspective on the gospel in mind, we all enabled to understand that the "decision" the gospel calls us to consider is... not our own decision about God, but... God's decision about us, since it is Jesus Christ who has joined himself to us in the incarnation. When Torrance talks about union with God as the goal of the gospel [and so the atonement], he is not discussing anything that we decide to achieve in ourselves; this is the decision God has made for us. Our decision is then appropriated to his decision.” (p. 212)